Thursday, November 30, 2000

School grows year at a time


St. Teresa now at K-2, but grade 3 due in 2001

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        MONROE — Every Tuesday Mary Beth Privitera goes to Mother Teresa Catholic Elementary School to teach art to the school's 20 kindergartners.

        She has no children at the school and she doesn't get paid.

        But that doesn't stop the West Chester Township mother of three from spending 60 to 90 minutes at the school — located on the bottom floor of Mother of Sorrows Church — making papier-mache turkeys, masks or clay figures with her small charges.

[photo] Children romp at Our Mother of Sorrows playground during recess at Mother Teresa School.
(Tony Jones photo)
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        “I'm hoping my daughter will be able to go here next year, but the most rewarding part is to see the kids' faces,” Mrs. Privitera said. “They light up because they know I'm the art teacher.”

        Volunteers such as Mrs. Privitera have allowed this Catholic elementary school — the only one in Monroe — to flourish and proceed with its plan to add one grade level each year until it reaches eighth grade. The nearest Catholic elementary schools are in Middletown, Hamilton and Mason.

        Founded in 1998 with one class of 20 kindergartners, the school added first grade last year and second grade this year, bringing enrollment to 59 with a waiting list of five children for kindergarten, said Jean vonErden, who is on the school's board.

        The private Catholic school uses the curriculum of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, but is not an archdiocesan school.

        School officials hope to find a permanent home for the school in three or four years. It has a 10-year lease with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for the five rooms of Our Mother of Sorrow's education building. Our Mother of Sorrows parish does not have a school and is one of nine parishes in the Mason/West Chester area supporting St. Teresa.

        Plans for next fall include adding a third grade class.

        The school also will be looking for two teachers — one for the added grade and one to replace the principal, Sister Anne Schulz, who taught the original 20 kindergartners and has moved up each year with them. Next fall she will become a full-time administrator but will teach some math classes.

        Already the school has raised about 15 percent of its $1.2 million goal to fund a new school, said Chris Roll, chairman of the school's board.

       



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